Three Presidents at the 10th Anniversary of the EPLO

Their Excellencies the Presidents: Sergio Mattarella, Prokopios Pavlopoulos and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa highlighted in their speeches the close ties among the three nations and the need to strengthen the European edifice.

Three Presidents at the 10th Anniversary of the EPLO


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For the celebration of its 10th Anniversary, the EPLO welcomed three Presidents of Republics, at its premises in Sounion, Greece, on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.  Their Excellencies the Presidents of the Italian Republic Prof. Sergio Mattarella, of the Hellenic Republic Prof. Prokopios Pavlopoulos and of the Portuguese Republic Prof. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa attended the ceremony for the 10th anniversary since the establishment of the European Public Law Organization (EPLO), an Organization with which they are closely related both as academics and as public figures.

In addition, the European Public Law Organization has dedicated the Year 2017 to the commemoration of 1900 years from the accession of Hadrian to Roman Emperor, in recognition of his contribution as the Roman Emperor of Good Governance and Reform.

H.E. The President of the Italian Republic Prof. Sergio Mattarella mentioned among other things: “Promoting the knowledge of public law means first of all the firm defense of our values, even in the emergencies, not only conferring them renewed strength and protection, but also extending their enforcement to contribute to more fair and stable societies, to build mechanisms that reduce inequalities, increase social cohesion and improve the efficiency of public bodies to the benefit of citizens”.

And referring to the EPLO he stated that: “…The importance of an organization whose principal objective is to promote the knowledge of European public law is not limited to the meritorious activity serving countries and organizations within and outside our continent. We need the EPLO and its contribution today. It is in fact crucial to develop common principles of law across all of Europe, inside and outside the European Union. […]The strength of the Organization resides in studying, analyzing, researching and developing common principles of law in Europe, what Professor Sabino Cassese defined as the new ’ius commune europaeum‘, in May of last year in Rome at the Quirinale Palace. The EPLO can and must be among the leading actors of a new European era, capable of demonstrating once again the rules and social models that improve the quality of living together. From our side we will continue providing our true support. This is Italy’s wish and commitment to the EPLO for the next ten years to come.”

H.E. The President of the Portuguese Republic Prof. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in turn, thanked The President of the Hellenic Republic and through him Greece, for the “cradle of democracy, of freedom, of the European spirit, and the capacity of comprehension of the rest of the world.” He also thanked The President of the Italian Republic and through him Italy, for “the cradle of the birth of State, of Public Interest and the Sense of Public Service, of the transformation of the ideals born in Greece into a structure, an economic, political and social democracy which is actually our European one”.

He added: “The Presence of the Portuguese President shows that we support this Organization. Here we are now joined with the same aim. We all know that throughout Europe there are millions of citizens who do not join us. They do not believe in politics. They do not believe in politicians, in European leadership. Which is unfair, because they all owe to Europe many years of peace, many years of democracy, many years and decades of influence in the world. It is not by chance that the Secretary General of the United Nations is a European. That means that Europe is very powerful when fighting for freedom, when fighting for democracy, when fighting for human rights. We are there. Europe is there. […] How is it possible to have strong leadership in Europe with weak leaders in Member States? How is it possible to have strong leadership in Europe with crises in most of the political and party systems of Europe? We are lawyers, we are law professors and judges and we know the importance of Law and the Rule of Law. One thing is the Rule of Law and another one is the way you reinforce it, you accept it, you live it. Sometimes we have forgotten to live upon the principles of our European law. […] I used to say to my students, that one of the problems of these times is how everything changes: economy, finance, society, culture. But Law and Politics are everything backwards. We must anticipate, not react. Europe has been reacting […] too late to the change in the world and the change in Europe. And that is the challenge for the future. […] It’s impossible to build Europe with politicians that do not believe in Europe. You must trust the people. It’s impossible to build the new Europe forgetting the people, not explaining to the people in a confident way. And We lawyers ,We politicians we must try to convince our colleagues everywhere in Europe that what unifies us is more important than what divides us […] and that is why we are here. ”

H.E. The President of the Hellenic Republic, Prof. Prokopios Pavlopoulos stressed: “The whole course of the European Union, in the midst of the deep global economic crisis, highlights, among other things, the great institutional gaps in the field of organization and functioning of the European edifice with regards to the democratic Authority in Europe on the one hand and the European State of Justice, with a focus on the European Social State of Justice on the other. The European Public Law Organization, as an international organization with its mandate of defending the implementation of public law in the wider European area can – and should be given the opportunity to – contribute in addressing the European institutional gaps through the enhancement of European Public Law.”

The event also honored with their presence: Professor Giuliano Amato, former Prime Minister of the Italian Republic and Constitutional Judge, Professor José Manuel Sérvulo Correia who along with the Director of the EPLO, Professor Spyridon Flogaitis, made short welcome addresses.

The former Prime Minister of the Italian Republic and Honorary President of the European Law and Governance School of the EPLO Professor Giuliano Amato stated among others: “…We were hoping that this new history (after World War II) would have been a history of peace and no more conflicts. But exactly the opposite has happened. […] So nowadays, the reason to stay together under the principles that have guided us up to now: the rule of law, the respect of human rights, mutual tolerance, understanding diversities and how to live together, are even more essential because, there might be a future for states that live their individual lives, but not in terms of hostility towards the others. Going back to the basic principles proclaimed by Robert Schuman in the declaration of 9 May 1950, solidarity has to grow among us; which happened in the first decade and is not happening anymore. The EPLO is a sort of protective shield for these principles, the law, the meaning of the law; and happily for us the three Presidents having been educated in law studies and in law teaching, understand, perhaps even more than others, that the sense of law is the sense of respect, is the sense that principles come first, is the sense that the rule of law is the only basis of an organized community.”

During his welcome speech Professor José Manuel Sérvulo Correia mentioned among others: “(…) The passage from the preamble of the Agreement in the institution and statute of our Organization retains all current relevance when it states the importance of public law for the formation of a better generation of jurists and democratic institutions and the promotion of European values not only in Europe but in the world at large. The turnaround that the European Union will have to face in the coming years should not jeopardize its fundamental nature of legal construction. On the contrary, it will imply new stages within this construction. For this purpose, an alliance between politicians capable of designing the new objectives and practitioners of Public Law will be essential, with in-depth preparation needed to set up a coherent system. Although not indispensable, this task is made easier when, like in the case of the three Presidents we have here, the two roles coincide in one person. Your intervention – Dear Presidents – within your parliaments and governments will provide a wider scope in our statutory purpose to cooperate with other institutions and organizations, in particular the specialized organizations and bodies of the United Nations.”

Professor Spyridon Flogaitis, Director of the EPLO during his welcome address referred to the following: “Ten years ago, three countries (the Hellenic Republic, the Republic of Italy and the Republic of Cyprus) gave impetus to the first international Organization based in Greece. (…) The creation and evolution of the European Public Law Organization in the city of Athens, the City in which once, Gods and people interacted, the City which Emperor Hadrian adored, was the scientific dream and the political objective of some of the best public law academics and practitioners from Europe and the world. Scientists with a deep sense of the need for shared knowledge and mutual respect, in a context of cultural equality, from Europe and across Europe worldwide, have undertaken the pursuit of promoting European values through law and governance within the European Union and Europe in a dialogue of civilizations.”

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